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Huge outback Australian station to become national park to protect more than 25 threatened species

AAP and AFP, June 29, 2020 7:00PM Kids News

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Narriearra Station, a 153,415-hectare property in far northwest New South Wales. Picture: AFP/NPWS/Joshua J Smith media_cameraNarriearra Station, a 153,415-hectare property in far northwest New South Wales. Picture: AFP/NPWS/Joshua J Smith

environment

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A massive piece of the Australian outback will be turned into a national park to help protect more than 25 threatened animal species.

Narriearra Station, a 1534-square kilometre property across the Channel Country in the northwest corner of New South Wales, is the biggest purchase of private land for national parks ever made by the state government, Environment Minister Matt Kean said.

“Narriearra Station includes part of the Bulloo River flood plain, ephemeral* wetlands and landscapes currently not found anywhere in NSW national parks,” Mr Kean said in a statement.

With nearby Sturt National Park, Narriearra will create a conservation area of close to half a million hectares, or almost twice the size of the Australian Capital Territory.

Mr Kean did not disclose* the price tag for the property, which was owned by Bill O’Connor, 84, whose family has had the station since 1919.

“Narriearra is an important refuge* for threatened wildlife, with more than 25 threatened animal species, including nearly 90 per cent of NSW’s critical* habitat and breeding areas for the nationally endangered Grey Grasswren.”

media_cameraA grey grasswren at Narriearra Station, NSW. Picture: AFP/NPWS/Jeff Hardy

Mr Kean said the purchase also secures a key section of the Caryapundy Swamp. The nationally important wetland can host tens of thousands of waterbirds including pelicans, straw-necked ibis, egrets and whiskered terns during inland flood events, he said.

media_cameraThe area purchased includes nationally important wetlands. Here, a bird on its nest is floating on floodwaters. Picture: AFP/NPWS/Joshua J Smith

“Adjoining the Pindera Downs Aboriginal Area, Narriearra contains many significant and valuable stone artefacts, tools and stone arrangements.

“The local Tibooburra Aboriginal Land Council has been invited to suggest a name for the park”, he added.

“The property is also linked to the ill-fated* Burke and Wills expedition, with two expedition campsites on the property.”

Explorers Burke and Wills crossed the land in 1860, with an engraved post marking one of the expedition’s two camp sites.

The dog-proof fence of the NSW-Queensland border forms its northern boundary.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) welcomed the new park.

“This new National Park is an example of the ambitious action required to slow and reverse the biodiversity* extinction crisis,” WWF Australia’s Stuart Blanch said, but added NSW needed to do more.

Mr Blanch also called on the government to employ people from the local indigenous community to help protect important sites and manage the land.

Conservation organisation Pew Charitable Trusts also hailed* the move. “The Outback landscapes in western New South Wales have not been highly protected and the scale of this historic purchase is exciting,” the group’s Australian director Barry Traill said.

media_cameraAn aerial view shows part of Narriearra Station, NSW. Picture: AAP/NSW Government/Joshua J Smith

GLOSSARY

  • ephemeral: lasting for a very short time (such as when there is heavy rain)
  • disclose: make public; tell others
  • refuge: place to be safe
  • critical: essential, vital, extremely important
  • ill-fated: didn’t end well
  • biodiversity: how many and how diverse the range of plant and animal species is in a habitat
  • hailed: cheered or saluted

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. What state is the new national park in?
  2. Why could it be important for this land to be a national park?
  3. What is along its northern boundary?
  4. Do we know yet what it will be called?
  5. When did Burke and Wills travel through there?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Visitor’s Guide
National parks are generally wonderful places to visit and explore. The wonders you will be able to see or explore in this new national park will be relatively unknown to many people. Use Word or Publisher (or an equivalent software application) to create a visitor’s guide for this national park on an A4 page.

Include some or all of the following:

  • Facts about the Park – Where it is located, size, nearby significant locations (for example, Tibooburra, Pindera Downs Aboriginal Area), etc
  • Some of the history of this new national park – From traditional land owners, time as a working station to National Park etc
  • Places to see – Narriearra Station, Burke and Wills campsite, Bulloo River, etc)
  • Wildlife they might see – brief description of species of interest
  • Map of the area
  • Places to camp/toilet facilities (You can choose a suitable location for these on your map)
  • Type of weather in different times of the year
  • Any other interesting information

Time: allow 45 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Science, Technologies – Digital Technologies

2. Extension
A number of species of birds are mentioned in this article. Choose one of these to research and create a fact file about it.

Include the following information in your fact file:

  • Species name
  • Conservation status
  • Picture of the animal
  • Physical characteristics
  • Diet
  • Natural habitat (eg, bushland, waterways, etc)
  • Distribution (where in Australia you can find them)

Time: allow 40 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Science, Critical and Creative thinking

VCOP ACTIVITY
Adjectives
An adjective is a describing word. They are often found describing a noun. To start with look at the words before the nouns.

Search for all the adjectives you can find in the article

Did you find any repeat adjectives or are they all different?

Extension: Pick three of your favourite adjectives from the text and put them in your own sentences to show other ways to use them.

Have you used any in your writing?

HAVE YOUR SAY: What would you like to see if you visited this national park?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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